Are Retailers Liable for Defective Product Injuries?
When you buy a product, you expect it to work as advertised without causing harm. But what if something goes wrong? For example, a new kettle’s faulty wiring gives you an electric shock, or a bike’s defective chain leads to a crash. These incidents might lead you to question who’s at fault for your injuries.
In many cases, the manufacturer is responsible for design or production errors. However, the retailer also has a duty to consumers. They could be held liable if they sold an item knowing it was dangerous or failed to pull it from shelves after a recall.
Our Green Bay defective product injury lawyers at Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers can help identify who’s at fault for your injury from a defective product and pursue compensation from those accountable.
A recall is an action taken to remove potentially harmful products from the market and correct the issue that made them unsafe. Typically initiated by manufacturers or mandated by the U.S. Consumer Protection Agency Commission (CPSC), a recall helps safeguard public health and consumer trust.
In the United States, the CPSC oversaw the recall of 300 products in 2023, a 20% increase over 2022. This included products like infant bath seats, lawnmowers, pressure cookers, and children’s toys, which have caused injury or are potentially harmful to the public.
Often, these products are available for purchase and use by consumers for an extended time, sometimes remaining on store shelves for months or even years before any action is taken. This delay can result in injuries, leading to questions about the retailer’s role in distributing a recalled product.
Retailers play a crucial role in the distribution chain, as they are the final link between manufacturers and consumers. They are responsible for ensuring that the products they sell are safe.
Retailers can be held liable for defective product injuries in the following situations:
- Selling a product after a recall. This includes cases where a retailer continues distributing products recalled due to safety concerns.
- Failing to provide usage instructions or warnings. Retailers must ensure that all products come with clear and understandable guidance for safe use; failing to do so may result in liability.
- Selling dangerous products before recall. When manufacturers inform retailers of defects, the store should immediately remove the items from sale.
- Misrepresenting product safety. Retailers must accurately represent products in advertisements and can be held liable if misleading information contributes to injuries.
- Ignoring safety warnings. Retailers who sell products knowing that they could be harmful, whether through customer complaints or prior legal actions, are at risk of liability for damages.
- Neglecting customer safety complaints. A retailer’s responsibility includes addressing safety concerns raised by customers. If the retailer ignores consumer complaints about safety, it can indicate liability.
To file a claim for a defective product against a retailer, you need to have elements in place, such as:
- Duty of care. As a consumer, you must demonstrate that the retailer owes you a duty of care to provide safe products for purchase. This duty is inherent in the retailer’s role in the distribution chain.
- Breach of duty. You must prove that the retailer breached their duty of care by selling a defective or dangerous product. This can involve showing that they knew or should have known about the product’s defects or potential dangers.
- Causation. You must demonstrate a connection between the product’s defect and your injury. For instance, if an electric blanket overheats due to a manufacturing flaw and causes a burn, you need to prove that the burn directly resulted from the defective blanket and not another source.
- Damages. You must show the extent of the injuries and damages you suffered due to the defective product. This can include medical bills, lost wages, assistive device expenses, and the cost of therapy or medication.
Defective product injury cases can be legally complex, and retailers often have legal teams dedicated to protecting their interests. Here’s why teaming up with a seasoned attorney from Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers is crucial to winning fair compensation for your injuries:
- Legal expertise. Our attorneys have the experience necessary to navigate defective product cases. We can assess the strength of your case, gather evidence, and build a solid argument on your behalf.
- Resources. We have the resources to investigate the product’s defects, consult experts, and challenge the retailer’s defenses. This ensures you have a well-supported claim that reflects your current and long-term damages.
- Negotiation skills. We have the skills to negotiate terms with retailers and their insurance companies to ensure you receive proper compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our role is to safeguard your rights from assertive retail insurers, establish the extent of your damages, and secure the settlement you’re entitled to.
- Litigation experience. If a settlement cannot be reached, our experienced attorneys can take your case to court and advocate for your rights before a judge and jury. This allows you to seek a full damage award from the parties responsible for your injuries, including the manufacturer and the retailer who sold the product.
If you’ve been injured by a defective product, determining who is responsible — the manufacturer or the retailer — is key to seeking compensation. Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers possess the legal knowledge and practical experience to guide you through this complex legal process.
We can offer personalized service to evaluate your case, investigate the claim, and fight for your rights. Our team can help you win a settlement to cover your losses and support your recovery.
Contact us today for a free consultation and speak with a qualified attorney who can help with your case.